A Smile in the Face of Fear…

by meditative - December 11th, 2014

The enemies we battle and the wars we wage are not outside of ourselves, but the reactionary forces of our habitual tendencies and negative (perpetuating) emotions. The most significant of these limiting tendencies is our fear. By facing our fear, we embrace and adopt an outlook of courage- we transform our impulse to say “no” to our adversity and “yes” with curiosity and purposeful intent to experience the full spectrum of our lives…. the full catastrophe of living and being human.

Courage is the fundamental openness to face even our hardest of truths despite their level of discomfort or pain… realities such as old age, sickness, and death. Aging is a natural process of impermanence. Everything is impermanent and comes to an end. Sickness is an integral part of having a body. How we accept and ultimately relate to our experience is a sign of our courage- and sustaining open curiosity to the mystery of our own being only strengthens it. Inevitably, the journey of our passing must be alone- it is part of our life. The more we cling on to our illusion of permanence only makes our parting more painful. The beauty of our journey is embracing each moment for what is- and accepting the transition into the unknown- for we cannot look into what we can neither see nor comprehend.

The seed of our existence is not to “fear”, but to live fully and courageously with heart- brave, true & limitless. Fear can be our ally- and our teacher- to face & live our lives with a clearer sense and a better understanding of what genuinely holds us back from directly engaging and embracing ‘what is’.

In all our bravery and curiosity to see and face things directly- we also need to come to know that ultimately some things we experience don’t make sense. The running commentary (i.e. storyline) of our lives can be one of those occurrences as it’s really a product of our mind, and it can wander rather far from the truth of our direct experience. The incongruence or disharmony with “self” and environment can be continuously annoying, uncomfortable, and painful when there is too much seriousness placed on the experience of living and being human- strong yet vulnerable and fragile. The manifestation of genuine harmony, peace, and joy arises when we are able to penetrate our seriousness with a sense of humor- and like fear, it too can be our ally. Similar to courage and curiosity it is a heartfelt quality- a smile, a “lightness”, or “warmth of spirit” that illuminates our vision and perspective. Waking from our seriousness helps to liberate our minds and bodies from the additional stressors brought on by getting too caught up in the “gravity” of our own experiences.

Cultivating a sense of humor is the seed to sustaining a positive outlook. It helps us to see the relative lightness and freshness of things as they truly are. As best we can, we must try not to take our emotions or ourselves too seriously. When we can smile or laugh at ourselves from our own hearts- everything opens up. Through the simple and intentional act of a “smile”, we can learn to let our experience arise without fear- with courage, curiosity, and a sense of humor.